Monday, October 15, 2007

Tonight: Rejecting the "Reasonable Accommodation" Commission

A network of individuals involved in various groups / organizations / collectives have been in discussion throughout recent weeks concerning the Quebec 'debate' on 'Reasonable Accommodation'.

This past weekend members of Al-Hidaya Association, Tadamon! Montreal, No One is Illegal, Solidarity Across Borders, Immigrant Workers Center and individuals met to discuss the possibility of a wide range of responses and actions to counter the discourse that is occurring in Quebec. During this meeting many people expressed the concern that the issues raised in the hearings stem not only from ignorance but also from racism. They felt the importance OF addressing this racism, particularly within the larger political context, in Quebec, Canada and internationally, in which the 'war on terror' and Canada's role in Afghanistan is hotly contested.

We invite organisations and individuals to bring proposals of actions, protest, popular education strategies, and ideas to this meeting so that we can coordinate a campaign that includes a wide breadth of responses.

October 15th, 2007, 7pm
Center Communautaire Musulman de Montreal [CCMM]
3300 Cremazie East, corner of St. Michel
Metro: Saint-Michel.
Bus 67 North, Until Cremazie

Background on the Reasonable Accommodation debate: Currently, the debate as we know it was triggered by municipal town council of HŽrouxville passing a "code of conduct" that made many assumptions about the lives and practices of Muslim and Sikh peoples. Over the past year, the tone of this debate carried into many different spheres of Quebec society: women were stopped from wearing hijabs while playing sports, the Sikh kirpan 'debate' was brought back into the fore, healthcare preferences for Jewish, Muslim, Sikh and Hindu people were questioned. This is a small range of examples of the practices that were brought into question in Quebec with a great deal of media attention and controversy.

In response to the growing debate around Reasonable Accommodation, Premier Jean Charest appointed a two man commission to investigate the issue and report back by 31 March 2008. Its formal title is the Consultation Commission on Accommodation Practices Related to Cultural Differences.

The commission is holding consultation in most regions of Quebec, including Rouyn-Noranda, Sept-Iles and Saguenay, Que., where few of the tensions which sparked the commission exist because the populations consist of relatively culturally homogenous communities living alongside indigenous communities. The Commission will listen to individuals, organizations and experts on Quebec identity, religion, and 'integration'of so-called cultural communities. The Commission will reach Montreal on:

  • November 27th: FR. Hearing. 7pm - 9:30pm
  • November 29th: EN. Hearing. 7pm - 9:30pm

For more information on the hearing:

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